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Great Mascara Alternatives

by Gabbi

Once you enter the makeup world, very few people go back to a truly cosmetic-free life. There’s art behind each swipe of mascara, blot of lipstick, and brush of eyeliner, and it’s difficult to leave that life behind.

But whether you want to give your face a break, or you’re just looking to cut down on time in the mornings, finding alternatives to your favorite cosmetic products can be a beneficial task to add to your to-do list! You may think this is impossible for some items in your makeup bag, especially for products like mascara.

So, what are some great mascara alternatives? Items like vaseline, and some beauty oils work as alternatives to mascara in a pinch. The strategic placement of eyeliner can be a great alternative as well. Or, if you want something a little longer lasting, getting an eyelash lift or tint can be a great fix.

In this article, we’ll break down all the ways you can have fluttery, lusciously long lashes, all without the wave of your mascara wand.

How To Make Lashes Look Longer Without Mascara

You may think that only the power of a good lengthening mascara can make your lashes look sky-high, but there are a number of different makeup-free methods you can try to make your eyelashes look lengthy!

1. Eyelash Curlers

This one is fairly self explanatory! You typically use your lash curler before a coat or two of mascara so that you have access to every inch of your lash, but using it on its own is a fantastic way to give your lashes some length, while still giving them some room to breathe.

If you’re worried that this method won’t be enough to give you lift throughout the day, it may be your curling technique (or lack thereof!).

We recommend warming up your eyelash curler (if you don’t already have one, check out this one from Wet n Wild) before you’re ready to use it.

You can do this by hitting the curling mechanism with your blow dryer for a couple of seconds before use. And some people even place their curler in their bra throughout the routine so their natural body heat warms it up!

When curling, gently lift your eyelid with your free hand to ensure you’re curling at the root of your eyelash. Squeeze firmly three times.

Then, move your curler so that it’s in the center of your eyelash. Squeeze firmly three times. Don’t be afraid to take your time and be careful!

2. Vaseline

While vaseline isn’t proven to lengthen hair, it can work wonders for super dry eyelashes!

We recommend this for those who wear makeup for more than half the days in the week. Your lashes may be extra dry after being exposed to mascara and makeup remover, so applying vaseline can give them some extra hydration!

Simply curl your lashes, then use a clean spoolie (or an clean mascara wand), and load some vaseline onto the bristles. Apply as you would mascara! 

3. Beauty Oil

In terms of lengthening, you can never go wrong with picking up some castor oil or argan oil for your lashes!

These oils are safe for use near the eye, and specifically target the hair follicles to induce and stimulate healthy, new lash growth. 

Castor oil is a master at increasing blood circulation, which will reawaken and bring new life to tired eyelash follicles. It’s also rich in fatty acids which can nourish current and new growth.

Argan oil, on the other hand, works by enriching your hair follicles with high percentages of vitamin E, antioxidants, and fatty acids. It basically heals your roots into growing new hairs – there’s no wonder why they call it “liquid gold!”

4. Massage

While you may never get used to seeing yourself in the mirror, it’s totally normal to wake up with a puffier than usual face in the mornings. This could be due to allergies, lack of blood circulation, or simply just water retention.

With a swollen face comes swollen eyelids, and this could make your lashes inadvertently look shorter! To combat this, get into the habit of massaging your face in the mornings.

You can do this with a facial oil, placing spoons in the fridge and placing them on your eyes in the morning, or by using a massage tool like a gua-sha.

5. Lash Serum

If you want lashes that touch your cheeks each time your blink, you may need the assistance of a lash serum! While you won’t see results from one use, once you let the serum work its magic for around 6 weeks, you probably won’t feel tempted to reach for your mascara anymore!

Make sure you talk to your doctor before using a lash serum to see if your skin, and your eyes, are a good fit for a serum.

We recommend GrandeLASH-MD and Babe Lash if you’re looking for some serious results. 

How To Make Lashes Look Thicker Without Mascara

If you’ve been blessed with lash length, but are just looking for some extra va-va-voom, using some cosmetic products you already have in your makeup bag to fake the look of thick lashes may be the next step in your beauty routine!

1. Gel Eyeliner

Gel eyeliner can come in a plethora of forms, including pot and pencil. But, unlike pencil eyeliners, gel liners typically have stronger pigmentation and unbeatable staying power, which is why it makes the list over an eyeliner pencil, kohl, or charcoal.

For this technique, we recommend a gel liner in pencil form. Try and find one that’s smudge-proof, waterproof, and super precise (like this one from Laura Geller). 

To use, gently lift your top lash line and apply this directly to the waterline. If you’re not used to this method of application, your eyes will probably water. Simply use a q-tip to wipe up any tears. 

2. Liquid Eyeliner

If you’re not a fan of applying anything near your waterline, we don’t blame you! You can achieve the same results with a steady hand, and your favorite liquid eyeliner (try this one from Stila). 

Liquid liners typically come in pen or dip form, and this technique will work with whatever you’re more comfortable with. Apply your liner as close to your lashline as possible to mimic the look of a thick lash line. Be meticulous and slow with your application for the best results!

Instead of a swiping motion, try using a stamping motion to be in more control of the line.

3. Strategic Eyeshadow

For those who aren’t eyeliner savvy, artfully applying a thin line of gel or liquid may be difficult. Thankfully, eyeshadow can give you a forgiving application, so even cosmetic novices can get a bold lashline!

Grab your favorite pigmented eyeshadow for this. For dark lashes, go with a black shadow; for blonde lashes, a brown shadow will work just fine. We recommend the single shadows from Anastasia Beverly Hills for serious color payoff!

Then, grab a small, condensed eyeshadow brush. This one from Jane Iredale is one of our favorites because of its precision. 

Load your brush up with color, and dust off any excess kickback by gently tapping the handle of the brush against your knuckle. Then, simply stamp the shadow against your lashline. 

Darken Eyelashes Without Mascara

1. Almond Oil

The uses of this oil go back to the days of Cleopatra’s reign. That’s right; there’s historical proof of almond oil being used in the beauty regimes of ancient Egyptians, to thicken and darken eyelashes, as well as promote healthy lash growth.

Because it’s full of fatty acids, vitamin E, and calcium, this oil smooths the cuticle and makes for a thicker, and consequently darker, lash. It also promotes healthier lash growth, so eyelashes that have been thinned by overuse of mascara can gain their strength back!

2. Jojoba Oil

Grab some jojoba oil if you’re concerned about lash fall and dryness. Having dry, weak lashes can make your eyelash line look far thinner than it actually is. 

Jojoba oil is great for sensitive, irritated skin, and helps your lashes retain moisture and fight off infection. It’s a fantastic healer, so if you’re worried your lashes are losing pigment due to compromised follicles, this is a great oil to have in your beauty arsenal.

3. Lash Tinting

Looking for something fast and permanent? Look into getting a lash tint done!

Lash tints are different than lifts or extensions because there’s no artificial hairs being added to your lash line. This is a great appointment to book if you have sensitive skin, have had bad experiences with lash glues, or are just looking to enhance the look of your natural lashes.

Semi-permanent to permanent cream-based dyes are used during the lash tint process. This method isn’t to make your hairs look longer or more curled – it’s simply to make your eyelash line look darker. 

It’s a quick procedure, lasting anywhere from 15-30 minutes, but the results last anywhere from 3-4 weeks!

We would recommend this method to those with blonde or brown eyelashes, as they’re the ones who will be able to see noticeable results. 

4. Getting A Lash Lift

If you’re only reaching for your mascara because you want curled lashes, you may want to look into getting a lash lift! It’s essentially a perm for your eyelashes. That way, they stay curled 24/7 without beauty tools or other products.

Lash lifts don’t involve any artificial hairs, but there are chemicals involved during the procedure. While the chemicals used aren’t as harsh as the perming solution you’d use on your head, they could still possibly cause some irritation.

Because of this, we would recommend those with sensitive skin to do some more research before booking an appointment.

What To Expect At A Lash Lift Appointment:

1. Cleaning

You should come makeup-free to your lash appointment. If you’ve booked in the morning, make sure all of your moisturizer and sunscreen has had time to completely set. Taking the time to gently swipe your lashes with a cotton round can help remove any excess oil.

Your lash technician should still take some time to help clean off any sweat or leftover product you may have missed, so don’t worry about being too thorough. 

2. Silicone Molds

Depending on how dramatic you want the lift to be, your technician can place a number of different types of silicone-based molds on your eyelids.

This is the only product that directly touches your skin, and if applied correctly, no lash solution will touch the delicate surface of your eyelids or waterline.

3. Separating

After the mold is safely stuck onto your eyelid, your technician will take the time to move each of your lashes to the mold using a gentle adhesive. They will ensure that each lash is separated, and placed exactly where it needs to be. 

Do some research into the salon you’re booking at, or find your technician on social media to see if you like the styles of separation your tech does. 

4. Solutions

After your lashes are right where they need to be, the perm solution is applied from root to tip. 

Remember, this process should not hurt, nor should you feel any burning sensations. If you do, let your tech know immediately so they can tend to you. 

The solution should not leak down into your waterline, nor should you feel it on your skin at any point.

5. Waiting

Those with fine eyelashes may only need to set for 5 minutes before the mold is removed, but you may need to sit with the mold on for up to 15 minutes- especially if you have super thick lashes.

6. Setting

After your perming solution has had time to process, your tech will gently wipe off the solution, and then apply a setting solution.

The setting solution will re-harden your lash and keep it in the shape the curling solution has left it in. 

7. Conditioning

After the setting solution is wiped off, your lashes can feel pretty fragile or dry. To give them their strength back, a conditioner is applied. After that, you’re good to go!

Most eyelash technicians recommend avoiding water for at least 24 hours after your procedure. This includes, sweat, steam, shower water, swimming, etc. The longer you let your lashes set without getting wet, the longer you get to enjoy the curl.

You can expect your curl to last for the length of the lash growth cycle, about 6-8 weeks. To see the process in action, take a look at this video from LashBase on YouTube.

Getting Eyelash Extensions

Eyelash extensions have been on the up and up lately, and it’s no surprise why. Whether you’re looking for a more natural look, or something striking- eyelash extensions can help you achieve the look of a fuller lash without the need of a curler or mascara.

At your appointment, which can last anywhere from 90 minutes to 2 hours, your lash technician will take the time to individually glue false eyelashes to your natural ones.

Because they’re so close together, the lash extension should be flush against your natural hairs, but not intimate enough to touch your skin. If you’ve gone to a reputable technician, you should be able to leave the salon with minimum irritation. 

It is quite the time consuming procedure, but you’ll be able to treat your lash extensions exactly as you would your real ones. The results can last up to 8 weeks with proper care, and you’ll be able to swim, rub your eyes, wash your face, and even apply mascara!

However, this technique is not for everyone. Make sure you talk to your lash technician about any restrictions you may have that can prohibit you from getting extensions done, such as wearing daily contacts, being allergic to glue, or using oil-based products in your beauty routines. 

Related Questions

How To Train Your Eyelashes To Curl Naturally

How To Make Your Eyelashes Grow Overnight

How Long Can You Wear Fake Eyelashes?

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